The Chinese Communist Party is obsessed with viruses. Its army of scientists claimed to have discovered nearly 2,000 new viruses in just ten years. In the past 200 years, much has been discovered elsewhere in the world. Even more disturbing is the party’s negligence on biosecurity. The new coronavirus that fled Wuhan proved that the costs and risks of world health are huge. This situation cannot continue. If China does not comply with global biosafety standards, including basic transparency requirements, the world must be accountable to the Chinese Communist Party and punish Beijing.
The latest example of this wrongdoing is rampant around us. Although the virus came from Wuhan, the evidence is solid. This is huge, although mainly indirect, and most signs point to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as the source of Covid-1
For a long time, the world has known that WIV poses a huge risk to global health. Two 2018 cables from the U.S. State Department warned of its biosafety issues. They even predict that the SARS-CoV-2 ACE2 receptor identified by WIV scientists will be able to spread from person to person. Yuan Zhiming, director of WIV’s biosafety level 4 laboratory, warned: “Biosafety laboratory is a double-edged sword: it can be used to benefit humans, but it may also cause disaster.” He cited the prevalence of biological laboratories in China The defects include the lack of “operational technical support, professional guidance” and “safety requirements for different protected areas and feasible standards for microbial animal and equipment inoculation.”
The Chinese public noticed this, and several bloggers claimed that animals carrying the virus in WIV were sold as pets. They may even appear in the local rainwater market. After the outbreak in Wuhan, a blogger who had disappeared since then asked WIV researchers to debate the laboratory’s biosafety practices in public. The offer was ignored.
Beijing has a moral and legal obligation to take biosecurity seriously, especially considering the kind of research that WIV is doing. In 2015, Dr. Shi Zhengli of WIV wrote an article titled “The SARS-like circulating bat coronavirus cluster shows the potential for human emergence.” She admitted that her team designed “chimeric” and “hybrid” viruses of horseshoe bats . . Ms. Shi and her co-authors warned in an article titled “Bat Coronavirus in China” published in 2019: “Future outbreaks of SARS or MERS-like coronaviruses are likely to originate in bats. This possibility Sex is likely to increase. It will happen in China.” At that time, WIV contained tens of thousands of bat virus samples and experimental animals.
China refuses to conduct international monitoring in WIV. The laboratory was established with the assistance of France, but China gave up its promise to allow French scientists to participate in the necessary research. Then, China certified WIV as the only Level 4 facility through its own agency, and the National Health Commission of China quickly approved its ability to deal with some of the most dangerous viruses in the world. The Ministry of Science and Technology of China completed a comprehensive safety and management survey of 75 biological research laboratories in China in 2016 and found that the quality of WIV did not even enter the top 20.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has admitted to developing biological weapons. In 2011, China stated at the International Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference that its military experts are studying “creation of artificial pathogens”, “genomics laying the foundation for pathogen transformation”, “genetic markers for specific populations” and “targeted Sexual drug delivery technology makes it easier for pathogens to spread.” A 2015 study by the PLA regarded the 2003 SARS coronavirus outbreak as a “contemporary genetic weapon” launched by foreign forces. In January 2021, the US State Department confirmed that people died mysteriously in WIV in the fall of 2019, and that WIV and the People’s Liberation Army conducted secret biological weapons research.
The negligence of Chinese biological laboratories, especially WIV, was so dangerous that after the outbreak in Wuhan, the PLA sent a general to take over the facility. Xi Jinping’s first speech during the outbreak emphasized the “lessons” and “vulnerabilities” in the management of China’s biomaterials and biosafety systems. He requested that the “new biosafety law” be included in the “national security system.”
The reckless behavior of the Chinese Communist Party has caused too many losses to the world, and its deceptive nature guarantees that this will not be the last such tragedy. It ordered the destruction of virus samples collected from the earliest patients. It prohibits the release of critical data. It suppressed journalists, doctors and scientists. It hinders the WHO investigation. Beijing does not want the world to know the true origin of the coronavirus and its serious biological safety failures.
The Chinese government must change course. It must be open to the biosafety system, correct its mistakes and curb its dangerous ambitions. Life and livelihoods all over the world are online. We are all responsible for ensuring that the Chinese Communist Party does not get a free pass.
Mr. Pompeo served as the US Secretary of State (2018-21) and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2017-18). Mr. Yu used to be Minister Pompeo’s chief policy and planning consultant in China. Both of them are researchers at Hudson College.
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